Give Your Living Room an Upgrade

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Photographs by Blake Scott

The time we get to relax in our living room each day are sacred hours. So why does the average living room look more like a disorganized heap than a temple? Transforming your space means more than just tidying up — it’s making a room that you look forward to being in, and showing off. For advice on how to do just that, we turned to Havenly, a company that provides online interior decorating, and fashion blogger Blake Scott who worked with them to revamp his living room (shown here). Transforming the raw space took about 30 days, from first conversation, to design proposals, to actually purchasing, shipping, and installing the furniture. (Scott confesses it would have been faster but his travel schedule intervened.) Here’s what they learned. 

Find a Centerpiece

Every living room should have a focal point, says Amy Fasnacht, senior designer for the interior design company Havenly. Whether it’s a cool fireplace or, for many, a worthy TV, pick one item as your centerpiece, then build everything else around it. Scott focused on a refurbished wood media console that houses books and his TV. “It draws your attention right when you enter the space,” says Scott. 

Invest in Your Couch

It’s the single-most used piece of furniture in the room — and probably your home — other than your bed, says Fasnacht. “You are going to be spending more time here than anywhere else, and there’s nothing worse than sitting on an uncomfortable sofa.” Pay up for a quality piece that provides the support you need, whether you’re a slouch-and-lounge guy or prefer a sturdier seat. 

Seek Symmetry

“We tried the couch one way, and the table another, but we couldn’t quite make it work,” says Scott, who says that he initially went against Havenly’s floor plan to create his own layout. “The pieces all felt right for the loft, but they weren’t fitting properly in the space.” Eventually, Scott went back to the design Havenly gave him — a more symmetrical layout — and what do you know, it worked.

Don’t Forget Personal Items

The quickest way to turn a house into a home is to pepper it with photos or personal knick knacks that have meaning to you. Scott added pictures of family and friends to the living room, and felt the immediate warmth of being surrounded by happy memories.

Go Vertical

Not all living rooms come with 12-foot-high ceilings, but Scott’s loft did, something he advises taking advantage of when choosing wall art. Most people display artwork at eye level, but playing with the vertical space can make a room feel bigger.

Get More Plants

A California native, Scott wanted to bring the outdoors inside, and a selection of succulent plants allows him to enjoy nature without stress. “Succulents are basically indestructible,” he says. “You water them maybe once a week and they’re fine. Meanwhile, we instantly transformed the space and made the loft feel alive.”

Establish Boundaries

In an open-floor space, use furniture to delineate where the living room ends and dining room starts. Scott’s couch serves as the demarcation between zones, but Fasnacht suggests that a well-placed rug can serve a similar purpose. “The rug can be an anchor for the room,” she says. “It can be a statement piece, or have a calming effect that centers a room.”

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